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Interviews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing
Steinar Kvale, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks California, 1996 The purpose of this book is to offer practical guidelines on how to do research interviews and to suggest conceptual frames of reference for thinking about them. Part 1: Introduction I Interviewing as Research With qualitative research interviews you try tounderstand something from the subjects point of view and to uncover the meaning of their experiences. Interviews allow people to convey to others a situation from their own perspective and in their own words. Research interviews are based on the conversations of everyday life. They are conversations with structure and purpose that are defined and controlled by the researcher. Although the researchinterview may not lead to objective information, it captures many of the subjects views on something. That’s why the basic subject matter is not, as in qualitative research, object data, but consists of meaningful relations to be interpreted. Part 2: Conceptualizing the Research Interview II The Interview as Conversation There is no common procedure for research interviews but an interview investigationcan be outlined in seven method stages: thematizing, designing the study so it addresses the research questions, the interview itself, transcribing, analysing, verification and reporting. The research interview is characterized by a methodological awareness of question forms, a focus on the dynamics of interaction between interviewer and interviewee, and also a critical attention to what issaid. The purpose of the qualitative research interview treated in the book is to obtain descriptions with respect to interpretations of the meaning of what is described. The interviewer does not use ready-made categories but is open to new and unexpected phenomena. Descriptions of specific situations and action sequences are elicited, not general opinions. During an interview an interviewee mightgain new insights and change his or her descriptions and meanings. Different interviewers can also produce different statements on the same themes. III Postmodern Thought, Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, and Dialetics Kvale explores the different possible philosophical approaches to how qualitative interviews can generate knowledge. He emphasizes that the knowledge that springs from interviews isrelated to a post modern construction of knowledge. He further explains the implications of the phenomenological approach that is prevalent in qualitative research. The focus is on phenomenology, postmodernism and also dialetics, from the works of Heidegger and Husserl over to Merlau-Ponty, Sartre and Lyotard. These philosophies can be used to highlight different aspects of the qualitative researchinterview and to provide a framework for the different methodological choices that have to be made. IV Qualitative Research in Science and in Practice Kvale rejects the positivists approach that labels qualitative research as unscientific because it doesn’t try to eliminate all influence by the person of the researcher. He states that qualitative research does not have to look objectively, sinceobjectivity in itself is a rather subjective notion. And interviews can be free of bias and provide objectivity and mechanically measured reliability by amount of agreement among independent observers. Qualitative research interviews can also be objective in the meaning of ‘letting the investigated object speak’, in expressing the real nature of the object. Kvale concludes that the interview assuch is neither an objective nor a subjective method since its essence is intersubjective interaction. Quantitative and qualitative methods interact in the practice of social research

and a linguistically constituted social world legitimates the use of qualitative interviews as a useful tool.

Part 3: The seven stages of an interview investigation V Thematizing and Designing an Interview...
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